Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Friday, November 8, 2019, 1:12 PM

House impeachment investigators released the transcript of last month’s deposition of George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. The New York Times reports that Kent was alarmed at President Trump’s insistence that Ukraine open investigations into Biden and Clinton, which Kent saw as “injurious to the rule of law.”

The Times also reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was prepared to make a statement on CNN in September about the opening of investigations requested by the White House—the Ukrainian president and his staff reportedly believed that nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid was conditioned on a public statement. Zelensky changed his mind when the aid was released by the White House to Ukraine two days before the scheduled CNN appearance.

New York state Judge Saliann Scarpulla ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages for the misuse of funds from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, the president’s tax-exempt charity which he agreed to shut down, according to the Washington Post.

Randy Credico, a comedian and former radio host, testified on Thursday in the ongoing trial of Roger Stone, reports the Post. Credico told jurors that he was not Stone’s back channel to WikiLeaks, contrary to Stone’s sworn testimony to Congress.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn unsealed criminal charges against Aventura Technologies for lying to American customers about the fact that some of their equipment had been made in China, according to the Times. Their items, which are believed to be vulnerable to hacking, were installed throughout U.S. government agencies, including the Air Force and Department of Energy.

Despite tensions in the German-U.S. relationship, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Germany this week to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, according to the Post.

William V. Roebuck, the top American diplomat on the ground in northern Syria, wrote in an internal memo that the Trump administration should have tried harder to prevent the recent Turkish military offensive in Syria, according to the Times.

The International Court of Justice found unanimously that it has jurisdiction on the basis of anti-terrorism and anti-discrimination treaties to hear a lawsuit filed by Ukraine against Russia for their support of pro-Russian separatists, reports Reuters.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode in the Arbiters of Truth series of The Lawfare Podcast, in which Quinta Jurecic and Evelyn Douek spoke with Daphne Keller about content moderation and legal liability for tech companies.

Arindrajit Basu explored India’s stances on cyber policy issues and how the country can be a major actor in global policy debates.

Erik Manukyan summarized the lawsuit brought by WhatsApp against NSO Group Technologies.

William Ford outlined the major developments from a recent Senate hearing on evolving threats to the U.S. homeland, which included testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Quinta Jurecic posted the transcript of George Kent’s interview with Congressional impeachment investigators.

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